Business in Lockdown: “Logistics and profit will be key” speaks to a number of suppliers and retailers to find out how they’ve adapted over the past four months. Today: Best Years. Preschool has been busy catching up with preschool suppliers and retailers to find out more about how they adapted their businesses over the past four months to cope with lockdown.

In addition, we also asked what concerns they have going forward as restrictions continue to ease.

Today: Gaynor Humphrey, commercial director, Best Years.

“Our office went down to just one person as it was just too impractical to have any more people in together. Initially, our warehouse closed for a week while we thought through implications, then we re-opened for a couple of days a week to ensure social distancing through strict scheduling of orders.

Morale was definitely the hardest part. We came off the back of a very productive trip to see some of our production partners and then some very successful trade shows, so we are all very fired up and ready to go. And then everything stopped.

I think most people believe that this is the start of a new normal and we will continue to have lockdowns and periods where shops may not be able to trade freely. However, I think that the preschool sector is incredibly lucky that babies will continue to be born and celebrated, kids will have birthdays and families will continue to buy their children toys. Both internet and ‘buy local’ will impact heavily on consumers purchasing decisions, and we will support our retailers to exploit these opportunities.

Logistics and profit will be key. As other countries manage the virus some producers will not be able to manufacture goods in the same way or the same volume. We anticipate some range shortages for AW2020 but also some hideous discounting as some retailers panic. The key will be to sell ranges where there is sufficient supply, but no one is trying to off load quantity at ridiculous prices.

Our pastel toys have been wildly popular as consumers buy baby hampers and baby gifts to send to friends/family. We have also done very well with our rainbow toys especially our fair trade, handmade crochet rainbow rattle.”

This feature originally appeared in the June 2020 edition of Progressive Preschool. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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